Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Africa's quiet revolution

From the Atlantic:

The poverty mafia once controlled the development debate in Africa. No longer.

The old approach was about how to prevent Africa from getting poorer. All development goals were essentially negative, as experts wallowed in risk-aversion and promoted various doomsday scenarios of an Africa with a rapidly growing population.

The new thinking on development is to share Africa's wealth more equitably. That's right: Africa's wealth...In the ten years from 2000 to 2010, six of the world's ten fastest-growing countries were in sub-Saharan Africa: Angola, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Chad, Mozambique, and Rwanda. In eight of the past ten years, sub-Saharan Africa has grown faster than Asia, according to The Economist. In 2012, the International Monetary Fund expects Africa to grow at a rate of 6%, about the same as Asia..

one of the reasons for the change: Cellphones...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Eden shmeden

Lolo likes nature films and there were several recently on Madagascar.


yes, but when there is a high rate of childhood malnutrition, how can one say it is "eden"?

Right now, there has been a little reported cyclone that has devestated much of that Island.

(49 news articles on the cyclone, 118 on the "world's smartest chameleon").

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Congratulations Zambia

sometimes the underdogs DO win

Guess who owns Zim's diamond mines

from the UKTelegraph

A Zimbabwean diamond field said to be the largest in the world is being mined by companies staffed by Robert Mugabe's police and military chiefs who may use the proceeds to crack down on opposition supporters, Global Witness has warned.

"There is a real risk of these revenues being used to finance violence during a future election."

Military chiefs, many of whom fought under Robert Mugabe in the independence war, have already made clear that they will not allow an MDC victory.

Global Witness is appealing to the Southern African Development Community, charged with keeping the peace in Zimbabwe, to push for the cancellation of the mining contracts and greater transparency in future.

"Zimbabwe desperately needs these diamond revenues for health, education and the refinancing of its banks," said Nick Donovan, the Global Witness researcher who compiled the report. "It does not need it to be spent on AK47s or the repression of its people."

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

When anti African bigotry is okay

when is it okay to present Africans as ignorant sexually promiscuous cynics? When the PC want to bash the religion of a pious person seeking the US presidency.

From Zenit news:

The story is ostensibly about two young Mormon missionaries sent to Uganda to share their scripture. The villagers are uninterested as their lives are consumed by poverty, famine and AIDS. When the local warlord plots to mutilate the women of the village, however, the villagers decide to feign conversion so as to flee. When they go for instruction from the Mormons they encounter an especially ignorant missionary who makes up his own revelation from snippets of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. When the ruse is discovered, all conclude that religion is better when taken as a metaphor instead of literally.

My first red flag went up with the portrayal of the Ugandans, seen as virtually illiterate, and enslaved by their sexual instincts. I don't know what a Ugandan would make of being presented as almost bestial in his desires and with a vocabulary limited to profanity. (In the show, all but one of the 75 instances of foul language are uttered by the Ugandans.)

Furthermore, the story presumes that female genital mutilation is a normal practice despite the fact that Uganda outlawed the practice in 2009, blazing the trail for other African nations. And although the plot supposes that the overwhelming majority of Ugandans are infected with the AIDS virus, Uganda has been the most successful battleground against AIDS with its "ABC" policy, of Abstinence, "Be faithful," and Condoms, with the latter seen as a last resort. Thanks to this program HIV has declined dramatically in Uganda, and between 1991 and 2007, HIV infection rates dropped by more than 50%.

Uganda's rate of Female genital mutilation is less than ten percent, and it's HIV rate is 6 percent of the adult population.
Uganda is, of course, a majority Christian land,

Friday, February 03, 2012

Nigerian wars

Long report on what's really going on there at Strategypage

Typhoid cases surge in Zimbabwe

from AlJezeerah


Zimbabwean health officials have called for an overhaul of the country's water and sanitation systems amid an outbreak of typhoid that has affected more than 1,500 people.

Henry Madzorera, Zimbabwe's health minister, said the country is reporting up to 50 cases of typhoid a day.

"By the end of December 2011, more than 1,500 cases had been seen and treated," Madzorera told a news conference in the capital, Harare, on Tuesday....

Madzorera appealed to his government for funds to "refurbish the water, sanitation and sewerage infrastructure as a matter of urgency", after years of neglect during the country's recent economic crisis.

Last week, Tendai Biti, Zimbabwe's foreign minister, announced the country would use $40m from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to refurbish water and sanitation facilities.

Some suburbs go for weeks without running water, as Zimbabwean municipalities battle to keep up services.

Harare city authorities say they cannot supply water to all the city's residents.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

China and Africa

A snip from a longer article on Strategypage about China's Sudan dilemma.

The savvy 21st century Chinese oil and ore buyers, taking a trick from Mao Zedong's Cold War appeal to Third World nations, portray themselves as being different from 19th century European imperialists who colonized Africa.

Beijing's empire builders are hands-off fellows, and their doctrine is "non-interference." Local politics aren't their problem. They are pure customers.

Oh, Beijing will help the sovereigns and independents build infrastructure to mine and ship the resources, though (to ensure quality of course) they want Chinese companies to do the work, not locals. That's the gist of a $10 billion deal China cut with the Democratic Republic of Congo, to the chagrin of many Congolese workers. China will also sell the sovereigns weapons, to deal with rebels who threaten resources, even if the sovereigns are genocidal thugs.
Free hit counters
Free hit counters